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Ohio billionaire plans deep-sea dive to Titanic wreck to prove industry safety

May 29

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Ohio billionaire Larry Connor is planning to take a deep-sea submersible to the Titanic shipwreck site and prove that the industry has become safer. Nearly a year after the fatal implosion of the OceanGate Titan submarine, which killed all five passengers aboard, Connor aims to demonstrate that proper engineering and safety practices can make deep-sea exploration safe.

Larry Connor, a Dayton entrepreneur and real estate investor, will descend more than 12,400 feet below the water’s surface in a two-person submersible. His partner in this endeavor is Patrick Lahey, co-founder of Triton Submarines.

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Their vessel of choice is the Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer, a $20 million craft certified for dives in excess of 13,000 feet. Described as “the world’s deepest diving acrylic sub,” this submersible is designed to withstand the immense pressure at Titanic depths.

“I want to show people worldwide that while the ocean is extremely powerful, it can be wonderful and enjoyable and really kind of life-changing if you go about it the right way,” Connor told The Wall Street Journal.

After OceanGate’s Titan submersible imploded, critics warned that OceanGate’s CEO Stockton Rush, who was killed in the tragedy, was too experimental in building the Titan and imposed questionable safety standards and practices.

“The sea is a very unforgiving place,” Connor told WBNS News days after the Titan implosion. “When you’re that deep, if you have a problem, you’re probably going to have to be very self-reliant to fix it.”

Lahey, co-founder of Triton Submarines, has labeled the ill-fated Titan submersible a “contraption.” He intends to build a reliable submersible that can repeatedly explore the Titanic wreck site without compromising safety.

Connor’s determination to build a better submersible led him to collaborate with Triton Submarines. Together, they aim to create a vessel capable of repeated and safe dives to Titanic depths. The Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer represents the culmination of years of design and technological advancements, materials that were not available even five years ago.

The Abyssal Explorer boasts impressive features including the ability to perform direct dives and a silent glide system that guides it toward targets. With a 6-meter wingspan skylight, this submersible promises an awe-inspiring view of the deep-sea world. The exact date of the Titanic voyage remains unknown.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

A BILLIONAIRE FROM OHIO IS PLANNING TO TAKE A DEEP-SEA SUBMERSIBLE TO THE TITANIC SHIPWRECK TO PROVE THE INDUSTRY HAS GOTTEN SAFER.

THIS — NEARLY A YEAR AFTER FIVE PASSENGERS WERE KILLED ABOARD THE OCEANGATE’S TITAN SUBMERSIBLE WHEN IT IMPLODED UNDERWATER WHILE ALSO ATTEMPTING TO REACH THE TITANIC.

THE BILLIONAIRE IS REAL ESTATE INVESTOR LARRY CONNOR.

HE TOLD THE WALL STREET JOURNAL – A FEW DAYS AFTER THE TITAN SUBMERSIBLE TRAGEDY – HE CALLED PATRICK LEAHY, THE CO-FOUNDER OF TRITON SUBMARINES – AND TOLD HIM TO BUILD A BETTER SUBMERSIBLE. 

LEAHY DID. AND NOW – CONNOR’S DREAM IS BECOMING A REALITY.

CONNOR AND LEAHY WILL PLUNGE TO THE TITANIC SITE, MORE THAN 12-THOUSAND FEET BELOW THE WATER’S SURFACE IN THE SUBMERSIBLE – A $20 MILLION DOLLAR VESSEL IS DUBBED “THE WORLD’S DEEPEST DIVING ACRYLIC SUB” ACCORDING TO ITS WEBSITE – AND IS CERTIFIED FOR DIVES IN EXCESS OF 13-THOUSAND FEET.

“I want to show people worldwide that while the ocean is extremely powerful, it can be wonderful and enjoyable and really kind of life-changing if you go about it the right way,” CONNOR TOLD THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

THE RIGHT WAY IS NOT CUTTING CORNERS TO BUILD THE SUBMERSIBLE.

AFTER THE TITAN SUBMERSIBLE IMPLODED – CRITICS WARNED THAT OCEANGATE’S CEO STOCKTON RUSH – WHO WAS KILLED IN THE TRAGEDY – WAS TOO EXPERIMENTAL IN BUILDING THE TITAN AND IMPOSED QUESTIONABLE SAFETY STANDARDS AND PRACTICES.

CONNOR SPOKE WITH WBNS NEWS IN THE DAYS AFTER THE TITAN SUBMERSIBLE IMPLOSION:

[LARRY CONNOR]

“AND THE SEA IS A VERY UNFORGIVING PLACE. WHEN YOU’RE THAT DEEP, IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, YOU’RE PROBABLY GOING TO HAVE TO BE VERY SELF-RELIANT TO FIX IT.”

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

LEAHY CALLED THE TITAN SUBMERSIBLE A “CONTRAPTION” AND TOLD THE WALL STREET JOURNAL HIS INTENT IS TO BUILD A SUBMERSIBLE THAT CAN DIVE TO THE TITANIC REPEATEDLY AND SAFELY. 

THE SUBMERSIBLE? THE TRITON 4000/2 ABYSSAL EXPLORER.

CONNOR SAYS HE’S BEEN THINKING AND DESIGNING THE VESSEL FOR MORE THAN A DECADE – BUT THAT THE VESSEL COULDN’T HAVE BEEN BUILT EVEN FIVE YEARS AGO BECAUSE “WE DIDN’T HAVE THE MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY.”

ACCORDING TO ITS WEBSITE – THE ABYSSAL EXPLORER FEATURES THE ABILITY TO DO A DIRECT DIVE, WITH A SILENT GLIDE THAT CAN DIRECT YOU TOWARD A TARGET, COMPLETE WITH A SKY LIGHT WITH A 6-METER WINGSPAN.

IT’S UNKNOWN WHEN THE VOYAGE WILL TAKE PLACE.

FOR STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS, I’M LAUREN TAYLOR.

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